Germany has secured enough supplies for now of remdesivir, which is set to become the first COVID-19 treatment approved in Europe, and is banking on developer Gilead to meet future needs, the country's health ministry said on Wednesday.
The intravenously administered medicine has won emergency-use authorisation in several countries and full approval in Japan after a clinical trial showed it helped shorten hospital stays.
The secretary of Health and Human Services announced earlier this week an agreement to secure large quantities of the drug from Gilead Sciences until September, allowing United States hospitals to buy it.
A treatment course of remdesivir is, on average, 6.25 vials. "We are aware of the significant responsibility that comes with pricing remdesivir, and the need to be transparent on our decision".
The Guardian reports: "Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the USA unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available". It is one of the two drugs now being used for the treatment of coronavirus patients around the world. The Trump Administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapies for COVID-19 and to ensure access to these options for the American people.
"They are a U.S. company so they will be under certain political pressures locally".
The lack of worldwide co-operation between industry and governments to "scale up" production of the drug, so all nations can benefit, is "a pity", Dr Reece said.
While on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme with Martha Kearney, he warned of the expected frustration from countries that were involved in the drug trial but will have no access to the treatment.
In the United Kingdom, researchers from Oxford University identified an affordable and widely available steroid, Dexamethasone, as a "lifesaving" treatment for Covid-19.
President Donald Trump's administration secured the majority of the next three month's supply of remdesivir, leaving virtually nothing for the rest of the world. There is also talk in medical and pharma circles that eventually generic versions of the drug could be bought from countries such as India which do not recognize the patent.
The US is the most heavily impacted country in the world by the pandemic. On Tuesday, 48,000 new cases were reported, setting a daily record for the fourth time in a week.